It’s the Apocalypse, wait its just Snow.

Sitting here today as Oklahoma weather shows it’s ugly face, and everyone preps as if the zombie apocalypse is about to occur, you know rushing to the grocery store fighting over bread and milk.  Nevertheless I thought since everyone else was stocking their cabinets with food and supplies I would prep you all with some winter driving tips!

RCI Snowy Vehicle

Winter Weather Driving Tips from The Weather Channel:

1. Make sure both you and your vehicle are properly equipped to handle the roads and the weather. My husband laughs at me because when the weather rolls around I put snacks & blankets in my car. I don’t want to starve or freeze to death! I think the amusing part here is that we do not live in Montana where you go MILES without seeing anything or anyone. Bottom line here, dress accordingly and be prepared for anything.

2. Slow down & drive smoothly. Speeding to get out of the weather is not going to help anyone. Patience is a virtue (I am not saying I have much of one myself), but driving slower and being more cautious is going to be your saving grace.  Keep your lane changes to a minimum, and do not lay on your brakes.

3. Do Not Tailgate. Obvious as it may be tailgating provides a ton of accidents and claims.  I also know that driving on a busy road makes tailgating hard to avoid.  If you leave too much space between you and the car in front of you other drivers jump right in. Stop and go traffic is the worst. A fender bender in the freezing rain and snow is not the way you want to spend your time. These fender benders are so frequent when roads wet or icy some cities run programs like Tulsa’s “Operation Slick Streets” which means that officers will not respond to non-injury accidents. They suggest you exchange insurance information and if you are close to a Quick Trip you can pick up a collision report to fill out.

4. Do Not use Cruise Control. Hopefully this will keep your speed down as well as keep you more aware of your surroundings.

5. Pull over or stay home. Of course if you are able to stay home and out of the weather that would be your best bet. If you do have to get out then remember that there is no shame in pulling over or waiting till the weather lightens up before heading on your way.

http://www.weather.com/life/safety/autosafety/article/five-winter-driving-tips_2011-10-30

While working on this I have read on cityoftulsa.org that Tulsa has in fact enacted the “Operation Slick Streets” this means it is getting rough out there. Hopefully everyone has their milk and eggs because as of this morning there was not a lot left. Everyone remember these driving tips and be safe as you head home!

Remember 2:00 AM on Sunday, November 3

Remember 2:00 AM on Sunday, November 3

Daylight Savings Time Ends

Yes, it is that time of year again, time to change those clocks. Did you know that daylight saving time started in 1918 in the United States? It was an idea brought to the attention of Benjamin Franklin who believed “early to bed and early to rise” according to David Prerau, author of the book Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time. There are mixed feelings for many Americans about the usefulness of Daylight Saving Time, how do you feel about it? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Also: It is a good idea, while changing your clocks that you also check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Checking these devices at both time changes will ensure that they are working properly and will be ready in the case of an emergency.

Fall Back

Things Your Burglar Won’t Tell You…

I have read this quite a few times on different websites, but it is wonderful information and very simple tips for keeping your home safe from burglars.The Burglar

This list came from the City of Calabasas Law Enforcement relayed by actual burglars.

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste … and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.
5. Form a Neighborhood Watch Group. They can help you work with your neighbors to improve security and reduce risk of burglary.
6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.
7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom-and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.
8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door-understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.
9. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)
10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.
11. Helpful hint : I almost never go into kids’ rooms.
12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.
13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at http://faketv.com/ they also have a great video so you can see the “Fake TV” in action.)
14. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
15. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
16. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.
17. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?
18. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.
19. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.
20. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.

21. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.
22. If I am ambitious enough to invade your home while you are there – you may want to consider “answering” my door knock through the door – “Hello – who are you – no, I don’t want any – go away or I’ll call the police” And I will go away. So DO NOT OPEN IT! But if I hear your voice speaking with me – I will move on to another home that may let me in!
23. Maybe I will work with someone claiming to sell magazine subscriptions – I always know when someone is home or not – by knocking on the door!
24. I look to see if your trash cans are put out on trash day – or I’ll look to see if anyone has taken in the trash cans by nightfall – a dead giveaway that no one is home!
25. Those car keys you left in the ignition or on the hook in the garage – allows me to drive away from your house in luxury with your property – and your car.
26. I love computer laptops – easy to carry and easy to sell! But I fear that you had enough gumption to install a locater program to locate your laptop like – LoJack for Laptops, or if you have an Apple computer, iPad, iPhone – Mobile Me!
27. I love homes that are not well lit! Homes with overgrown bush and shrubbery so I can hide if someone walks or drives by. It allows me to hide!
Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
28. And when I get rid of what I have stolen – I know that hardly anyone keeps serial numbers or has engraved their ID on anything anymore. Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home — this is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques. Your insurance company can provide assistance in making and keeping your inventory.
29. And I love neighborhoods where the neighbors do not talk to one another – they have no idea what’s going on!

October is National Fire Prevention Month

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/fire-prevention-week

Each year more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Home fires can be prevented!

To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.

There is little time! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames. Most deadly fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won’t have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.
Information Provided By: http://www.ready.gov/fires

It is extreamly important that everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of a fire emergency, make sure that you draw a floor plan and have at least two ways of escaping from every room in the house.

Make sure to test windows and doors, making sure they open easy enough that everyone in the home can open them.

Have a meeting place outside the home, that everyone meets once out of harms way.

Practice your escape plan monthly with the entire family, so everyone is clear on where to go and how to get there.

Teach childeren not to hide from fire fighters.

Test smoke alarms monthly.

Replace smoke alarms every 8-10 years.

Information Provided By: http://www.firesafetytips.com/

To Prevent a House Fire:

Cooking
•Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
•Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
•Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
•Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around the stove.
•Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Blog fire

Smoking
•If you smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. Put your cigarettes out in a can filled with sand.
•Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. The cigarette really needs to be completely stubbed out in an ashtray. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
•Check for cigarette butts. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don’t put ashtrays on them. If people have been smoking in the home, check for cigarettes under cushions.
•Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
•Be alert – don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.

Electrical and Appliance Safety
•Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
•Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
•If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
•Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
•Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Portable Space Heaters
•Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
•Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
•Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
•Check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community.
•Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves
•Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
•Never burn trash, paper, or green wood.
•Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
•Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
•Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container outside the home.

Children
•Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
•Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
•Teach children not to pick up matches or lighters they may find. Instead, they should tell an adult immediately.
•Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.
•Check under beds and in closets for burned matches, evidence your child may be playing with fire.

More Prevention Tips
•Avoid using lighted candles.
•Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
•Replace mattresses made before the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. Mattresses made since then are required by law to be safer.
•Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
•Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.

Information Provided By: http://www.ready.gov/fires

Fire Truck Blog

SAVE THE DATE * SATURDAY * MAY 4TH, 2013 * 9 AM TO NOON

On Saturday, May 4th RCI Insurance Group is hosting a FREE Community Shredding Event from 9 am to noon, in the RCI parking lot across the street from the Claremore Post Office at 621 N Cherokee!!!   PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY  and shred your outdated bank statements, credit card applications, bills,   and anything with your personal information. before tossing it into the trash or recycling.  Junk mail often includes some of your personal details!   

Did you know you are entitled to a FREE Annual Credit Report each year?  There are hordes of knockoff sites that will try to charge you for your report and other needless services.  You can order the report directly through each agency or at annualcreditreport.com.  Monitor your credit report to make sure you have not been victimized.

Warnings for Flood Damaged Vehicles

As Storm Sandy makes its way across the Midwest states, I’m in awe of the devastation left in its wake. This storm has left many East coast states buried in several feet of water. It’s crazy how much water came from that storm alone.  The pictures show buildings with severe flooding and too many vehicles almost completely covered in water.

People with water damaged vehicles will begin trying to sell their vehicles. If you’re going to be buying a new car or potentially buying a new vehicle, please be sure to check vehicle for water damage. It’s more than just spotting a waterline. According to an article for MSN Autos, Jim Jacobson, a 30-year veteran of the car sales business and owner of Jacobson Auto Sales, “…Instead of declaring the car totaled by flooding, the insurance companies just paid to have it cleaned out, or the owner never made a claim. But if there’s been floodwater inside the car, it’s almost certain that there will be problems down the road, from corrosion on electrical connections and ABS and airbag sensors to failed transmissions. Or it will just smell bad.”

If a vehicle has been totaled for flood damage, there is a marked title given to that vehicle. Most insurance companies will be very hesitant, if not totally against, writing an Auto Insurance Policy for a marked titled vehicle. At RCI Insurance, most of our companies will not want to write an Oklahoma Auto Policy for vehicles that have either a salvaged title or a flood damaged vehicle. However, people have found that if they move their vehicle from state to state and retitle their car in several different states, the marked title gets removed and a new title is given to the vehicle (also depends on the state’s laws about titling a vehicle and marked titles).

Since you can’t always trust the title of the vehicle to be truthful, here are a few ways to check and see if a vehicle has had water damage. If it has, walk away and don’t purchase it. Many experts say there will almost ways be problems later on with a vehicle that has had water damage. Even if you’re buying from a Car Dealership or a private owner, check these areas in the car.

  1. Buy a title history. The Justice Department database has made these reports a little easier to read. You still want to look them over carefully, especially if the vehicle has been titled in other states.
  2. When you sit inside the car, smell it. Does it smell moldy or rusty or musty? Sniff the upholstery. The only way a moldy smelly can be taken completely out of upholstery is if the cleaners use bleach. Since bleach can’t be used on the upholstery without damaging it, chances are if there’s been water damage, you’ll smell it.
  3. Most auto carpet has plastic backing. Check it out. If it’s damp, smells wet, or muddy, or even has an odd odor chances are it’s had water damage.
  4. Check the bolts of the seats, if they’re rusty or loosened that could be a sign of flood damage. The seats have to be removed for the carpet to be cleaned.
  5. Look for a scum line or silt in out-of-the-way locations. Be sure to check the glove box and under the dashboard. These areas can be easily overlooked when the car is being detailed. And be sure to check the trunk as well. Look for waterlines, moisture, check under the spare tire, and the floor mat. You want to find any signs of flooding.
  6. Check out the turn signals and headlights. These are expensive to replace and many times aren’t when there’s been flooding. See if there is any mud, silt, or water in the lights.
  7. Look for rust or corrosion. If you can’t or don’t know how, have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic. You want to know if there is any rust on the chassis and suspension.

These are just a few suggestions when car shopping after flooding has taken place recently. Remember that some dealerships are obligated by law to inform potential buyers of a flooded or salvaged vehicle. You can’t guarantee that they will tell you everything about the car. So be prepared and find out everything you can about a vehicle before you buy it.

 

If you’d like to read more information about this, visit the website, MSN Autos, here.

 

Oklahoma Auto Coverage: Need vs Want

You are driving down the road and a dog runs out in front of you. Your first instinct is to swerve to avoid hitting the cute little puppy. So, you swerve – right into a semi-truck hauling a mobile home. The mobile home overturns and the home is completely destroyed. It takes out a couple of mailboxes and a couple more cars. Four people are injured and need medical attention.

Let’s see what kind of damage we have done:

Mobile Home – $50,000
Mailboxes – $200
Mutilated Vehicles – $35,000
Medical Expenses – $100,000
Having Enough Oklahoma Auto Liability Coverage – PRICELESS

The biggest question you should consider when shopping for auto insurance is, “When this happens to you, how much of the damages do you want your insurance to pay for?” I have only ever heard one answer – “I want my insurance to pay for all of it!”

Guess what? If you are carrying Oklahoma’s state required minimum auto insurance coverage, your insurance company is only going to pay for $50,000 of the medical expenses and $25,000 for property damage. You will personally owe an additional $60,200 to cover what insurance did not pay to replace the mobile home, mailboxes, and damaged vehicles. And you owe another $50,000 for the medical expenses that were not covered. So, you now need to write a check for a grand total of $110,200.

If you have the money in your savings account, it is no problem. Of course, your child may not be able to go to college or you may not be able to buy the lake house you have been saving for. If you own a home or business or other assets, the lawyers will be glad to put a lien on your home or take your motorcycles and boats. Of course, you could always sell your business to cover the expenses, but then you have no way to support your family. If you do not own anything, the lawyers will go to court to get a judge to agree to garnish your check until the damages are paid for – which should only take about 50 years.

Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if you had an Oklahoma risk manager who explained the coverage in detail so that you knew what was at stake and understood the importance of purchasing the higher coverage limits (sometimes only costing as little as $5 or $10 a month for all the vehicles on the policy!). You need more than an insurance agent trying to make a fast buck off of you – you need a personal risk manager who will spend time to understand the risks you personally need to cover. Contrary to popular opinion, insurance is not a “one size fits all!”

Oh, and my last word of advice? Never swerve to miss hitting animals. No matter how cute and cuddly Fido may be and how sad it is to injure an animal – if you hit an animal, the claim is considered a comprehensive claim on your Oklahoma auto insurance policy. If you dodge the animal and hit other vehicles or trees or run in a ditch, etc., the claim is considered an at fault accident and will cost you a lot more than a comprehensive claim.