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!

Stressed about the upcoming Weekend?

Thanksgiving Desserts

Stressing about this Exciting Weekend?

This is what we’ve been waiting for since November 1st! Its Thanksgiving weekend and we’re ready to be filled to the brim in thanksgiving foods! Every year we eat until we can’t eat anymore and then we burn off the calories by shopping until we drop. It’s a wonderful time to be alive!

We’re overly blessed, here in America, and it’s important to take a moment and be thankful for everything we have. We’re the “busiest” country and we need to make sure that we take a step back this holiday season, and get a look at the wider perspective. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday can sometimes make us feel less thankful for what we already have so we’re going to all need to work on having gratitude during this time. First, we’ll stuff our faces with tasty food and desserts! Second, we’ll take a nap after all the turkey. Third, we’ll go shopping at the most insane hours of the day in order to ensure that we get the best presents for the best price possible.

We wanted to put something together to help everyone with this extremely busy weekend so we’ve included one of our FAVORITE recipes! This is our pumpkin roll recipe from Allrecipes.com and we LOVE it! If you make this then please let us know how it turns out!

 

Pumpkin Roll:

3 eggs, beaten

1 c white sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 c pumpkin puree

¾ c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese

1 c confectioners’ sugar

¼ tsp vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or grease one 10×15 inch jelly roll pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin. In another bowl, mix together flour and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and blend until smooth. Evenly spread the mixture over the prepared jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake 15 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
  4. Remove cake from pan and place on tea towel (cotton, not terry cloth). Roll up the cake by rolling a towel inside cake and place seam side down to cool.
  5. Prepare the frosting by blending together the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla.
  6. When cake is completely cooled, unroll and spread with cream cheese filling. Roll up again without towel. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle top with confectioners’ sugar and slice into 8-10 servings.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/13731/pumpkin-roll-i/

 

Let us know how these pumpkin rolls turn out! Now, after we all feast, we’ll be out at the darkest hours shopping like our lives depend on it! You’re your caffeine and hang on tight. We’ve put together a brief list of black Friday dos and don’ts. Let us know how these work out for you!

DO:

  • Be polite to other shoppers and ESPECIALLY to all employees. They probably are just as frustrated as you are, if not more. One good, friendly face may change their entire weekend!
  • Have a plan and a route for what you need and where you can get it. You want to be efficient and quick with this so that you can get home, eat Thanksgiving leftovers, and get to bed!
  • Go with a group of people and keep your phones on you at all times! If you go with a group of 6-8 people, you can split off into pairs to create maximum efficiency.
  • Try to get all of your Christmas shopping done before December 1st so that you can relax and enjoy the holiday without the stress of shopping. Try to get everything wrapped too! That’ll save time and space, they can go directly under the tree instead of hidden in a closet!
  • Make sure to have coffee and nutrition so that you are health and fueled for a night of hard core shopping!

DON’T:

  • Think that your wants/needs are more important than other shoppers. We’re all trying to get our shopping lists completed and spend the smallest amount of money possible. We’re all in the same boat.
  • Be rude to employees, they’re trying their best to service a huge amount of people. This is the craziest shopping day in America and they probably have a lot more immediate problems than you do.
  • Don’t go alone. It’s a crazy day with all the hustle and bustle and then the lack of sleep on top of that, it’s best to go as a group.
  • Don’t go in without a plan! You’ll end up purchasing unnecessary items and losing more money than you save.
  • Put your shopping needs above eating/drinking/sleep needs. You need to be healthy to be happy so let’s make sure we’re hitting every area here.

So have a blast with your family and friends this holiday season! Tell us your thoughts on the pumpkin rolls and share your crazy Black Friday stories with us! Make sure your home is insured prior to having guests over and before the cold weather hits! Plus, with all the snow and ice that we got last week you’ll want to make sure your auto is covered appropriately too.

Make sure you give us a call with all insurance related questions: 616-897-1515!

Fall Back into Safe Running Habits

Fall Back into Safe Running Habits

Running and Thanksgiving are two things that aren’t easy to put together, but it’s somewhat necessary. When we have the holidays coming up, and we just know that we’re going to feast on the holidays, running becomes a part of our everyday routines. This may come at some inconvenient times due to the family events that we‘re all planning, the cold weather, rain/snow, and the shorter days. I agree that it’s hard to leave the comfort of your warm, cozy home to go out and run in the rain and freezing temps but for those of us who ARE doing that on the daily, here’s what you need to know.

November is National Running Safety Month and I know some people don’t think this is even a concern. So we’ve put together a brief blog to explain the hazards of running this time of year and some quick ways we can combat this to make it a safe place for all runners.

A huge concern right now is the shorter days. For those of us who work 8am-5pm, it’s dark in the mornings before work and its dark almost immediately when we get out of work. On top of that, we also have rain and snow more often than not, so you’ll have that on top of the darkness. So if you’re lucky, you can run on your lunch break, otherwise, we need to come up with a more creative solution.

If you’re going to be running in the dark, you’ll need to wear brightly colored clothing. This is both easy and necessary. Purchase some neon yellow clothing and make that your running gear. I would recommend also wear a head lamp and a light up running vest. These are light weight and will make it easier for you to see and be seen by other people and drivers. You should also take your phone and ID and be sure to run against traffic.

Someone may also want to consider carrying a mace or pepperspray. This time of year the running trails are less busy and makes us more susceptible to danger. Keep your pepperspray somewhere easy and quick to reach. Some other things to consider would be a whistle or a self-defense ring.

The cold weather is going to make your body hurt. Be sure to set aside plenty of time for a warm up stretch (just some easy, light stretching) and then a good long, heavy stretch after your run. You need your muscles and joints strong and healthy for this time of year. Also, make sure your shoes have good grip for snowy and icy days! Not only are the cars dangerous in the winter elements but you could be a danger to yourself. You’ll want to keep your phone charged and on your person everytime you run in case you slip and hurt yourself.

With all of that being said, we want to wish you happy running and remind you to stay safe!

 

Employee Spotlight:

Congratulations to two of our employees, George Graham and Shad Breimayer, on their work anniversaries this month! George is finishing up his first year with Alliance and Shad is completing his 8th year. Both are such a delight to work with and we couldn’t be more grateful. A big congrats to both of them!

                                   

 

 

Do Vampires Need Insurance

Dogs as Ghosts Many people walk around under the illusion that they don’t need insurance. Unfortunately, this illusion is a dangerous mirage that can create a perilous financial future for those who buy into it. In order to show you just how necessary insurance is for every individual, let’s talk about vampires.

Why Vampires?

Okay, so vampires don’t seem very relevant, but consider this: according to modern mythology, not only do vampires sparkle in the sun but they are also immortal, may be able to read minds, can have super strength and speed, and are generally less vulnerable than humans—as long as the sun isn’t out. So if there’s anyone who doesn’t need insurance, surely a vampire would fit the bill, right? Wrong.

Vampire Insurance

  1. Vampires need life insurance. Why in the world would the immortal need a life insurance policy, you ask? Well, even the eternally undead are not impervious to fire, wooden stakes, silver bullets and the errant ray of sunlight. With a life insurance policy, a vampire can easily leave a suitable legacy while also providing the means for a fitting funeral.
  2. Vampires need business insurance. With thousands of years of life stretching before them, vampires must have a perpetual means for generating an income. Their independent spirit would likely create an entrepreneurial streak leading to the creation of their own businesses. Business insurance could help a vampire protect his business against liabilities, cyber theft, content damage and more.
  3. Vampires need home insurance. If a man’s home is his castle, then a vampire’s home is … well … really his castle because, as everyone knows, vampires would totally live in castles. But these castles wouldn’t be empty or filled with cheap furniture. Instead they would be filled with valuable antiques the vampire had collected over her several lifetimes. And, in the bedroom, an expensive casket for spending daylight hours away from the sun. In the event of a fire, theft, hurricane, or other covered peril, said vampire would rely on a home insurance policy to replace the value of her property and rebuild her palace.
  4. Vampires need auto insurance. What kind of car would a vampire drive? Well, one with a sense of irony might decide to travel around in a hearse. Others might prefer a car of regal bearing that complements their strength and power. Whatever car a vampire chooses, late night driving and searching for a midnight snack of jugular could someday result in an accident, theft or vandalism, not to mention the potential of an act of nature to bring destruction. Not only can an auto insurance policy protect a vampire against losses from damage done to his car, but it can also pay bodily injury and property damage liability costs.

The living dead might exist only in the hearts and minds of readers and moviegoers, but the risks that they would be exposed to are real and are faced by mere mortals every day. To get the policies that even a vampire would need, and maybe some they wouldn’t, give us a call today! 616-897-1515

10 Insurance Claims You Didn’t Know Existed

10 Claims You Didn’t Know Existed

When we ask people about Umbrella policies, they almost never know what we’re talking about. The thing about Umbrella policies is that they cover a TON of intriguing and unusual scenarios. For your own amusement, we’ve provided some surprising claim examples that are 100% REAL.

umbrella
Umbrella Policy

Example 1: A babysitter left a 5 month old infant unattended in a walker. The infant toppled the walker, struck her head on the floor, and suffered brain damage. The parents of the infant sued the teenage babysitter AND her parents. The court awarded the infant’s parents $11,000,000.

Example 2: An insured’s daughter hated math class as well as the teacher. The daughter made several disparaging and false remarks about her teacher online. The teacher sued the parents for personal injury and $750,000 was paid.

Example 3: The insured’s 18 year old son was driving the insured’s car on a short trip to the store with his girlfriend. He lost control of the car and struck a tree. The insured’s son told the police that a vehicle cut him off, but there were no witnesses and no evidence of any impact with another car. His girlfriend, a 19 year old college student, was hospitalized for over a month with multiple fractures and internal injuries. She was in a wheelchair but is now able to walk with crutches and continues with physical therapy. She has a right drop foot as a result of the injuries. The insured’s personal umbrella policy limit was paid.

Example 4: A 28 year old engineer dove into a friend’s above ground swimming pool, struck his head on the bottom and, as a result became a quadriplegic. He sued both the homeowner and the pool manufacturer. The court found the homeowner to be 60% responsible and the pool manufacture to be 40% responsible, and awarded $10,000,000.

Example 5: The insured’s tenant claims she became ill from carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from a faulty furnace. The tenant claimed permanent brain damage and demanded $750,000.

Example 6: A teenager, who was destined for greatness as a softball player, filed a $700,000 lawsuit against her former coach, alleging his “incorrect” teaching style ruined her chances for an athletic scholarship.

Family
Home Insurance for your family

Example 7: A hillside on the insured’s property was covered with concrete to prevent erosion. The concrete had been installed before the insured purchased the property. Approximately 5 feet of the concrete fell to the neighboring property knocking the claimant’s home from its foundation. The resulting claim was settled for $970,000.

Example 8: The insured permitted several of her children and their friends to play paintball in her large back yard. The children were experienced and advised of all the safety rules including the use of headgear at all times. A participant removed her headgear as she was leaving the field in order to better hear someone calling her name. The minor claimant was his in the eye resulting in a $475,000 settlement.

Example 9: The insured hosted a beach party for their daughter. One of the attendees found what was believed to be an empty and discarded propane tank. The tank was thrown into a beach bonfire and subsequently exploded resulting in severe injuries to several guests. A $20,000,000 claim was filed alleging the insured failed to properly supervise the party.

Example 10: A couple hosted a party for their teenage children. They did not provide any alcohol, but it was brought by some of the guests and was available. After leaving the party, one of the guests was severely injured in an auto accident, and the injury was attributed to his consumption of alcohol. This case went to the State Supreme Court which decided that anyone who sells or furnishes alcohol to a minor is responsible for the minor’s injuries as well as any injuries caused by the minor. The opinion of the court was that the homeowners should have prevented the consumption of alcohol by minors on their premises. Both the homeowners and personal umbrella policies responded to this claim.

After reading through these different scenarios you’re probably slightly shocked and what some of these people have gotten sued for and who was truly at fault for the situations. Most of these sound “totally unfair”. These are EXACTLY why it’s so important to have an umbrella policy.

Umbrella Policy: An umbrella policy is an excess liability policy. This means that it offers additional coverage for property you already have covered. So in the case of a lawsuit, if the underlying policy’s liability coverage is exhausted, the umbrella coverage will kick in. Umbrella coverage often includes a wider array of scenarios as well. Umbrella policies can be purchased by the million. So you can have a $1 million, $2 million or $3 million. You can sometimes go even higher with this coverage as well.

Umbrella policies are usually about $20-$25 per month and can add a multi policy discount onto your underlying policies as well so if you’re interested in getting a quote for this then be sure to give us a call!

616-897-1515.

Trick-or-Treat Tips

Happy Halloween!

It’s getting spooky!

Today is the scariest time of the year! All sorts of monsters, witches, and other miscellaneous creatures will be coming to our doors and asking for treats. We all need to makeJack O Lantern sure we’re being safe and keeping an eye out for mischievous behavior. For everyone’s safety, we’ve included a list of 13 safety tips for the big night!

1.       Flame resistant costumes. There will be an awful lot of candles and fire tonight so make sure that it’s not even a possibility for your child’s costume to catch on fire.

2.       Plan a route. You’ll want to have an exact idea of where you’re going and which neighborhoods you’ll be in. Although some streets may look tempting, they may not be the safest place for you to take your child up to stranger’s doors.

3.       Have an adult per 3 children. You might think you can handle all of those kiddos on your own, but once they see candy being given out, or their favorite movie character costume, they’ll be out of control and you’ll be wishing for a helper. It’s best to use caution and keep a good ratio of adults to kids. 

4.       Be sure to be looking both ways while crossing streets. There are plenty of distracted drivers and distracted walkers/runners and none of us want an accident. Be wise and use your eyes. 

5.       Keep electronic devices put away to be more alert. You’ll need to know where you’re walking and who’s around you in order to stay as safe as possible. 

6.       Always walk on sidewalks (only sidewalks) to make sure you’re not on private property or getting lost. Plus, you never know what might be in someone’s yard! Stay smart and use what the cities gave us. Sidewalks are a perfect way to ensure that you know where you’re going. 

7.       Stay in well-lit areas. Although this time of year is for scary things and pranks, some people might not be pranking, they might be serious. If this is the case, you’ll want to stay in well lit areas to avoid those people. 

8.       Feed your children a big nutritious meal prior to trick-or-treating! This will keep their bellies full and make it less likely that they’ll try to eat all of their candy that night. It’s important to spread out the candy throughout the next couple days or weeks. If they eat too much sugar within a small period of time, they’ll get stomach aches and potentially be sick. They’ll also be outside in the cold weather and candy shuts down the immune system, making it easy for them to catch a cold or the flu.  

9.       Use face paint instead of a mask to help the child have better vision. The ability for them to have clear views of their surroundings is important while wandering the streets at night. They’ll also need the ability to know without a doubt that no cars are coming while they cross the street.

10.   Have a flash light or glow stick. Wear bright colors and/or reflective material on costumes. Making your children (or yourself) visible is the safest way to be out in the dark. 

11.   Make sure costume isn’t hazardous and the child can safely walk without tripping.

12.   When driving, slow down and take extra time to be sure that no children are in the road. You’re child may be in the back seat crying or digging into their candy, but those problems can be solved prior to driving, to ensure the safety of others as well. 

13.   Always check your child’s treats! There could be anything in there and you’ll want to be sure you know what they’re going to be eating. Anything that has been opened (even if it appears to have been an accident) should be thrown away. 

Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone, and send us your favorite candies and costumes!

3 Scary Halloween Insurance Claims

Let’s look at some of the most common tricks that are pulled on policyholders over the holiday and ways you can safeguard your car and home this Halloween.

Dog Bites on Halloween

1. My dog bit a trick-or-treater! Halloween creates heavy traffic to your home and can be downright spooky for dogs.  A scared dog is on higher alert than normal, and this could result in your furry friend taking a bite out of one of your costumed visitors.

It’s best for you, and your pet, to have them put away from the door when you know traffic will be high – such as Halloween night. They should be fine in a back room, away from the front door. If possible put some of their favorite toys and a treat back with them so they know they are not in trouble. We also recommend turning on the TV or a radio in the room your dog is in to help muffle the doorbell or noise and giggles of trick-or-treaters at the front door, which may stress them out.

Remember not to take this risk lightly. There were over 16,000 dog bite claims last year, making up more than one-third of all liability claims paid out homeowners insurance companies, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). They totaled almost $479 million, averaging nearly $29,400 paid out per claim. Every state has different rules about dog bites, homeowners policies typically cover the liability and medical expenses related to a dog bite, unless your dog or his breed is excluded from your policy.

2. Does my homeowners policy cover TP in the trees? Toilet paper typically doesn’t damage trees, most of the time it’s just paper blowing through the branches, so a claim isn’t necessary. For the most part, toilet paper is merely an annoyance that must be cleaned up in the morning.

However, there have been instances when a tree has been damaged during an act of vandalism.  If this happens, your homeowners policies may cover this – check with your agent to be sure.  If your tree does have damage from vandalism, avoid cutting down limbs or hauling away any debris until a claims adjuster is able to come out to take a look at the damage to the tree or your home.Halloween

3. My car was egged, am I covered? Vandalism is most likely covered by your car insurance policy if you have comprehensive coverage.  Whether or not you should file a claim depends on the amount of damage versus the amount of your deductible. You may be able to remove egg with a simple car wash – though more extensive damage may occur depending on the severity of the vandalism.

In the last few years, we’ve seen claims increase for damage caused by paintballs, water balloons filled with paint or other liquids, and broken windshields with pumpkins thrown through them. If you see severe damage, dents, or your paint eaten away, then a claim may be justifiable.

Your best bet to protect your vehicle is to park your car in the garage or another well-lit, covered area. If you do not have this option, even simply buying a tarp to cover your car can detour vandals.

The good news is that most neighborhoods are prepared for Halloween, and you and your neighbors can look out for each other and the rest of your neighbors. By working together, and helping others be vigilant about safeguarding your street from pranksters, your street will be unattractive to teens ready to egg cars or toilet-paper trees.

What other tips do you have for preventing pranks during Halloween? Share them with us on our Facebook page or Twitter.

3 Scary Halloween Insurance Claims

Let’s look at some of the most common tricks that are pulled on policyholders over the holiday and ways you can safeguard your car and home this Halloween.

Dog Bites on Halloween

1. My dog bit a trick-or-treater! Halloween creates heavy traffic to your home and can be downright spooky for dogs.  A scared dog is on higher alert than normal, and this could result in your furry friend taking a bite out of one of your costumed visitors.

It’s best for you, and your pet, to have them put away from the door when you know traffic will be high – such as Halloween night. They should be fine in a back room, away from the front door. If possible put some of their favorite toys and a treat back with them so they know they are not in trouble. We also recommend turning on the TV or a radio in the room your dog is in to help muffle the doorbell or noise and giggles of trick-or-treaters at the front door, which may stress them out.

Remember not to take this risk lightly. There were over 16,000 dog bite claims last year, making up more than one-third of all liability claims paid out homeowners insurance companies, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). They totaled almost $479 million, averaging nearly $29,400 paid out per claim. Every state has different rules about dog bites, homeowners policies typically cover the liability and medical expenses related to a dog bite, unless your dog or his breed is excluded from your policy.

2. Does my homeowners policy cover TP in the trees? Toilet paper typically doesn’t damage trees, most of the time it’s just paper blowing through the branches, so a claim isn’t necessary. For the most part, toilet paper is merely an annoyance that must be cleaned up in the morning.

However, there have been instances when a tree has been damaged during an act of vandalism.  If this happens, your homeowners policies may cover this – check with your agent to be sure.  If your tree does have damage from vandalism, avoid cutting down limbs or hauling away any debris until a claims adjuster is able to come out to take a look at the damage to the tree or your home.Halloween

3. My car was egged, am I covered? Vandalism is most likely covered by your car insurance policy if you have comprehensive coverage.  Whether or not you should file a claim depends on the amount of damage versus the amount of your deductible. You may be able to remove egg with a simple car wash – though more extensive damage may occur depending on the severity of the vandalism.

In the last few years, we’ve seen claims increase for damage caused by paintballs, water balloons filled with paint or other liquids, and broken windshields with pumpkins thrown through them. If you see severe damage, dents, or your paint eaten away, then a claim may be justifiable.

Your best bet to protect your vehicle is to park your car in the garage or another well-lit, covered area. If you do not have this option, even simply buying a tarp to cover your car can detour vandals.

The good news is that most neighborhoods are prepared for Halloween, and you and your neighbors can look out for each other and the rest of your neighbors. By working together, and helping others be vigilant about safeguarding your street from pranksters, your street will be unattractive to teens ready to egg cars or toilet-paper trees.

What other tips do you have for preventing pranks during Halloween? Share them with us on our Facebook page or Twitter.

Fall Daylight Savings Checklist

Daylight Savings TimeAn Extra Hour of Sleep… An Extra Hour to Organize 

Every year, Daylight Savings Time sparks debate and frustration. But there’s one thing we think everyone can agree on – an extra hour of sleep is always welcome! ‘The words “Fall Back” are sweet music to the ears of many sleepy people looking forward to the extra hour of sleep that comes with the fall time change. But Daylight Savings Time can also be a reminder to home and automobile owners to patch up any holes or leaks before colder weather approaches.

Now that you’ve moved your clock back one hour, here’s a quick maintenance checklist before the Michigan winter arrives. 

1. Clean your chimney 
Planning on having a fire during the cold weather? Make sure your chimney is cleaned first. A buildup of creosote, found in every chimney, can lead to a fire that you didn’t plan. 

2. Roofing Regulations 
Now is a perfect time get your roof cleared of damaged shingles and bothersome branches. 

3. Good Gutters 
Fall means leaves, which means a clogged gutter. Get your gutter cleaned and discourage unwanted pests from making their home inside. Plus, prevent roof damage that can occur due to overflowing gutters.

4. Protect against the upcoming freeze 
Wrap your faucets! 

5. Insulate on the cheap 
Insulation strips can be bought cheap at any hardware store, and are a great way to lower your heating bill. Scope out any cracks that lead outside, especially through windows or at the bottom of your front and back door, and insulate before the snow piles up. 

6. Water heater and furnace check
These are two things you absolutely do not want to fail you when you need them most, during the bitter winter. Get them checked out before it’s too late.


How do you prepare for winter weather in Michigan? Comment below with your favorite fall to-do’s. 

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Grilling Safety Tips for Summer

Safe Grilling TipsWhether it’s for the holiday weekend or just another gorgeous day in Michigan, nothing says summer like the smell of grilling wafting through the neighborhood. It’s one of our favorite parts of summer and a great way to gather the family together to savor the long, hot days. Unfortunately, when folks gather around the grill this summer, risk factors also increase.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, US Fire Departments respond to over 8,200 home fires involving some sort of outdoor grill per year. These 8,200 fires have caused 15 deaths, 120 injuries and $75 million in property damage.

But this doesn’t mean you have to throw water on the coals just yet. You can stay safe and still enjoy your delicious food by following just a few safety tips. 

  • Never grill inside. Besides the obvious fire hazard, grilling inside your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area can result in an accumulation of carbon monoxide – possibly enough to be deadly. The safest place to set up your grill will be a well-ventilated area on a flat surface, outdoors and away from buildings and others.
  • Any utensils (forks, tongs, etc.) should have long handles and you should use flame retardant mitts to avoid burns and splatters.Grilling Safety
  • If a grease fire occurs, don’t panic, and never throw water on a grease fire! Use baking soda to control a grease fire. You should also have a fire extinguisher handy to be sure flames do not get out of control. A bucket of sand can be used as a substitute if you don’t have a working extinguisher. Remember to use the sand or baking soda first, and then you can apply water from a nearby hose if needed.
  • Never leave a grill unattended once it’s lit.
  • Don’t allow children to play near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. The grill will remain very hot to the touch for up to an hour or more once it’s been extinguished.
  • Never attempt to move a hot grill. It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burn yourself or someone helping you.

Whether you’re grilling for an outdoor party or just tonight’s dinner, employing safe grilling habits is the hallmark of any true pit master.